So, if you have read many of my posts here, you know I am an avid coffee drinker. However, a little known fact about me is that I also love tea! I actually used to drink a lot more tea before I switched to the more potent potion, coffee, but I still enjoy a good cup every now and again! Anyway, tea has so many benefits for you that even if you do not drink tea, maybe you should consider it. Read more below about which teas can do what for you AND for links to coupons and my recommendations on the best brands!
Different types of teas and their benefits:
- Black tea: Can lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of a stroke
- Oolong tea: Can help with weight loss
- Green tea: Could lower the risk of cancer and heart disease; also known to help burn calories throughout the day when consumed enough
- White tea: Good for your heart and for fighting cancer
- Herbal teas: Chamomile is good for relaxation/sleep; Peppermint is great for calming the stomach (this is especially useful for IBS sufferers- this tea is a staple in my pantry)
- Read tea: Can be used a source of calcium; also is a powerful antioxidant
Brands I have used and links to coupons where available:
This, obviously, is not a comprehensive list of all of the teas out there. These are just the ones I have bought regularly.
Do you have any suggestions for good brands? Also, do you have any unique uses for tea? Let me know in the comments section!
Below you will find a sample week-long menu of healthy, kid-friendly lunchbox menus. I actually got an email about this from Circle of Moms, but I modified the menu to make it “megacool” healthy! Anyway, I hope you can infuse some creativity into your kiddos’ lunches and help them see that eating healthy can be fun and delicious!
Monday: Bento Box or Snack Lunch
- Peanut butter or hummus (coupon in Oct. 2 SmartSource insert for Tribe hummus) with “dippers” (apple slices, carrots, celery, bell pepper, whole grain crackers, etc.)
- Boiled egg
- Cherry tomatoes, snap peas or any other favorite fruits or veggies
OR try the following menu…
- organic cheese slices (COUPON for Organic Valley cheese slices)
- turkey or “veggie” pepperoni
- whole grain crackers ( COUPON for Kashi brand!)
- grape tomatoes and carrot sticks
- strawberry slices and a few raspberries (try buying these organic if possible)
- whole wheat pretzels
- piece of dark chocolate for dessert! (COUPON for Ghirardelli dark chocolate!)
Tuesday: One-color lunch (I don’t recommend doing this a lot since it is important to see lots of color from the different fruits and veggies in one meal, but kids seem to be fascinated by things that are grouped by color! Why not lunch?)
- Annie’s cheddar bunnies
- organic cheddar cheese chunks
- dried apricots (COUPON for Sunsweet dried fruit)
- orange slices
- bbq flavor Popchips
Wednesday: Deluxe Bagel lunch
- whole wheat bagel (make sure there are no high fructose corn syrups!) with sun butter and raisins sprinkled on top
- organic string cheese
- fresh pineapple chunks
Thursday: Leftover Chicken lunch (use leftovers from dinner the night before to whip up this fun lunch!)
- fruity chicken kebabs, made with chicken chunks, grapes and strawberries
- whole wheat mini bagel with cheese
- sliced cucumbers
- Apple and Eve juice box (COUPON)
Friday: PB & J lunch (a twist on the classic lunchbox staple!)
- sandwich with whole wheat (no high fructose corn syrup!; COUPON for Aunt Millie’s all natural bread) bread, natural peanut butter (Smucker’s is good), and all-natural fruit spread (we like Polaner)
- organic cheese sticks or Babybel Laughing Cow cheese wedges (Coupon for $1/2 Babybel cheeses in Aug. 7 SmartSource insert)
- fresh fruit
OR try swapping the fruit and cheese for more veggies and a little bit of dessert, for example
- same sandwich as above
- all-natural tomato soup (COUPON)
- broccoli florets or baby carrots
- one square of dark chocolate
Did you try any of the menus above with your kiddos? How did they like it? How easy/hard was it to prepare?
Have a “megacool” lunchbox week!
This recipe is perfect for fall weather, which we are beginning to experience in the Midwest! Also, this time of year, squash are ripe for the pickin’! And, they are soooo good for you! Here is a recipe I found in my “Real Simple” magazine that I thought I would share. As always, I have linked to coupons and filled you in on specials where possible!
Prep time: 10 mins. Total time: 1 hr. Serves 4
- 1 3-lb. spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/4 c. sliced almonds (these have been on clearance at my SuperTarget lately!)
- 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice (on sale 10 for $1 at Meijer week of 9/12!)
- 1 tbsp. honey
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- Kosher salt and black pepper (Go to SavingStar and sign up for an account to get money back on your Diamond Kosher Salt purchase and much more!)
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced
- Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place the squash on a rimed baking sheet, drizzle the cut sides with 1 tbsp. of the oil, and turn cut-side down. Roast until tender, 40 to 50 minutes.
- Meanwhile, spread the almonds on a second rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the lime juice, honey, cumin, the remaining 2 tbsp. of oil, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper.
- With a fork, gently scrape the strands of squash flesh into the bowl and toss with the lime juice mixture. Sprinkle with the almonds and scallions.
This recipe looks absolutely delicious, and I think my kids would love it (they love spaghetti, so why not spaghetti from squash?). Of course, if your kids have NUT ALLERGIES, LEAVE OUT THE ALMONDS!
Since Perdue chicken breasts were on sale at the beginning of this week at Jewel-Osco (Buy One Get One Free), I have decided to focus this week’s recipe around chicken! (I hope you stocked up while you could!) The Megacool thing about these recipes is that you only have to cook the chicken once, then re-use it for the rest of the meals! Love that time-saving factor!
So, fire up the grill one last time before cold weather hits and get to grilling your chicken!
NOTE: highlighted food items will lead you to a coupon! Yippeee!
Dinner 1 (BBQ Chicken Breasts w/veggies)
- Put some barbeque chicken breasts on the grill (enough for a meal for your family). I usually wait until the last 5-8 minutes of grilling to put on the bbq sauce so that it doesn’t stick to the grill as much!
- While you are at it, throw on several more pieces of chicken without bbq sauce to use in your recipes for the rest of the week. You could use the same marinade on the chicken breasts that I used on my drumsticks in this recipe.
- Serve the bbq chicken breasts with some steamed veggies and whole grain buns or brown rice (the steamable microwave kind from Trader Joe’s is amazing! It’s organic and cooks in 3 minutes!)
Dinner 2 (Chicken Strip Salad)
- For the next night’s dinner, cut the chicken breasts into strips and serve over your favorite lettuce or salad blend. Add some fresh sliced strawberries, some feta cheese and walnuts for a healthy, heartier dinner salad! (Just don’t go overboard with the nuts and cheese! 1-2 tbsps. of nuts and 1 tbsp of feta cheese is plenty to get you the taste and health benefits you need!) Use the dressing from my Very Vegetable Salad recipe to drizzle on top!
Dinner 3 (Chicken Fajitas)
- On the third night, reheat the remaining chicken strips with salsa, sliced & grilled peppers & onions, crushed garlic, a squeeze of lime juice and a dash of oregano to make delcious chicken fajitas wrapped in steaming whole wheat tortillas ( I like the Target brand Archer Farms Simply Balanced Whole Wheat tortillas!). Serve with slices of avocado if you like on the side!
I hope you enjoy your chicken this week! If you have any strips left over, you could even freeze them and use them to make dinner at a later date! Let me know how you liked the recipes!
Here is my list for this week. These are the deals that I have found on good-for-you products that are advertised at my local area Jewel, Target, Dominick’s, Meijer, Walmart and Walgreen’s stores. I have provided links to coupons where I could…look for the recipe later in the week featuring one or many of the ingredients off of the list!
Jewel (sale through today, Sept. 3!)
- Perdue chicken breasts (Buy One Get One Free)
- Perdue chicken drumsticks or thights (Buy One Get One Free)
- Angie’s Organic Kettle Corn (on sale 2/$5)
- Mangos (10 for $10)
- Fiber One Bars and Brownies (on sale 2/$5; ALSO, when you buy 4 products from the promotion, you will get a coupon for a FREE MILK on your next visit <up to $4.50 value>!) COUPON
- Athenos Greek Yogurt 5.3 oz. (10 for $10) COUPON (available on Athenos Facebook page)
- Wild Harvest Natural Cereal (on sale for $2.99) COUPON
- Thomas’ Whole Grain English Muffins (Buy One Get One Free)
- Diana’s Bananas Banana Babies (Buy One Get One Free)
- Vanity Fair Everyday Napkins 100 ct. (Buy One Get One Free) ($1 off 2 in Aug. 14 RedPlum insert)
- Dixie Paper Plates, Cups or Bowls (Buy One Get One Free)
Meijer (sale through Sept. 7!)
- Homegrown Bi-color sweet corn ($.15 an ear)
- Dole Classic Romaine, Just Lettuce, or Greener Selection (4 for $5) (there is a peelie for $.75 off 2 if you can find it on one of the products!)
- Organic carrots, romaine lettuce and celery (4 for $5)
- The Laughing Cow Wedges (2 for $6)($1 off 2 COUPON in August 7 SmartSource insert)
- Garden Fresh Hummus, Salsa or Chips (Buy One Get One Free)
- Activia yogurt ($1.88 for 4-pack)
- Aunt Millie’s Healthy Goodness Bread (Buy One Get One Free) COUPON
- Kashi Cereal (on sale for $2.99) ($2 off 1 Kashi Product coupon available on Recyclebank)
- Mrs. Dash Seasoning Blends (2 for $4) COUPON
Walgreens (sale through Sept. 3, today!)
- Domino sugar (on sale for $2.49 with in-ad coupon)($.50 off 1 Domino product COUPON in August 28 RedPlum insert, also!)
- One dozen Grade A Large Eggs (on sale for $1.29)
- Angel Soft toilet tissue (9 big rolls for $4) COUPON for $1 off 2 in August 14 RedPlum insert
- Softsoap Liquid Hand Soap (Buy One Get One Free)
- Buy $30 or more of P & G products (Pampers, Gillette, Olay, Crest, Aussie, Nice ‘n Easy, Oral B, Pantene, etc.) and get $10 Register Rewards! Check out your latest P & G coupon inserts in your Sunday papers for some potential money-saving scenarios with this deal!
Kid-friendly Bran Muffin recipe (taken from Revfoods website, originally from Cyberparent.com)
This recipe looks like it would be fairly simple to make and healthy to boot! I took it from this great website I discovered today, which I will describe in my next post! You will find the recipe below, with my links to coupons as well! Enjoy!
- 3 tsp. baking soda COUPON
- 1 cup boiling water
- 2 tbsp. all natural applesauce COUPON (print it out from the Meijer Mealbox to use on Mott’s applesauce at Meijer)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup sugar COUPON in August 28 RedPlum newspaper insert for $.50 off Domino sugar product AND Domino sugar on sale at Walgreen’s right now for $2.49 until this Saturday (Sept. 3) with their in-ad coupon!
- 4 tbsp. canola oil
- 4 egg whites COUPON for either $.35 or $.50 off Eggland’s Best Organic Cage-free eggs in July 31 RedPlum newspaper insert AND Eggland’s Best are on sale right now at Jewel 2/$5
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 cups non-fat milk COUPON (for $1 off 2 Horizon Dairy organic half-gallons of milk) AND COUPON (for $1 of 2 Horizon Dairy organic half-gallons of milk at Meijer!)
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 3 cups bran cereal (Cascadian Farms organic cereal on sale at Jewel this week for $2.50 a box!)
- 1/2 cup raisins COUPON (this can be used on the Sunsweet Dates as well! You may be able to print it out twice!)
- 1/2 cup chopped dates
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Add baking soda to boiling water and stir; set aside to cool.
- Line a 4, 6, or 12-cup muffin pan with foil muffin cups. Although you can use paper liners, oil, or cooking spray; foil liners produce more moist muffins. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine oil, applesauce and sugars. Blend very well.
- Add egg, mix again.
- Add baking soda mixture, lemon juice, milk, flour, salt, cereal(s), raisins, and dates. Mix until dry ingredients are blended; do not over mix. Allow to stand about five minutes: until dry ingredients absorb some liquid.
- Spoon batter into muffin cups and bake 25 minutes.
- Serve warm. Store remaining batter in covered container, refrigerated for up to six weeks.
Makes 24 very filling, nutritious muffins.
Let me know if you tried this recipe and if the kiddos liked it! I plan on making it soon!
So, if you are a mega-busy megacoolmama like me, you know that sometimes it can be difficult to grab healthy snacks for ourselves during our hectic day. Am I right? I used to think that just packing a granola bar or 100-calorie pack of snack crackers was going to be just fine for me to snack on during the day. However, since I have had my children, I have greatly modified the way I eat and what I eat. I am now much more conscientious about what I put into my body and how it is going to affect me. That being said, I was elated to see that one of my favorite magazines, Real Simple, had done a special section on healthy snacks that meet the following criteria:
- They are about 200 calories (this is a good amount to keep your metabolism going at an ideal pace)
- They contain at least 3 grams of fiber (fiber keeps you fuller longer and helps your body digest its food easier)
- They contain at least 5 grams of protein (more protein = more snack satisfaction)
- No more than 12 grams of fat (some fats are good, like from avocadoes and nuts, but the daily recommended amount is about 30-35 grams for an average adult)
It is important that your snacks are meeting the above criteria so that you are getting the energy you need throughout the day and so that you don’t overeat when mealtimes come around. It has been proven that those who snack or “graze” throughout the day keep weight off easier than those who do not. Also, these snacks are mega yummy, so, why not treat yourself?
I have provided a link here for you to go the Real Simple page and check out the snacks that met their criteria. I actually use a lot of these ideas myself!
Below, you will find my list of coupons and/or deals that go with the snacks mentioned. Hopefully, if you haven’t been the best “snacker” this will give you a little motivation to go out and try something new and good for you (while saving you money)! Megacool!
- 2 clementines and 7 walnut halves (sign up here for special offers on Diamond nuts…I have seen Diamond walnuts on clearance at Target for the past three weeks or so!)
- 1/4 cup soy nuts and 1 tbsp. chocolate chips (go here for a printable coupon on Nestle chocolate chips)
- KIND Peanut Butter and Strawberry bar (go here to find KIND products for 25% off retail price!)
- 1/2 cup Annie’s Homegrown Organic Cheddar Snack Mix (Target has had great sales on these lately!)
- Starbuck’s Grande Nonfat Caffe Latte (save your receipt from your morning coffee and get $2 off a beverage after 2 p.m. the same day!)
- 3 cups popped popcorn + 2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese + chili powder + a pinch of cayenne pepper (go here for a $.50 off one Newman’s Own brand organic popcorn)
- Vitalicious VitaTops Deep Chocolate muffin top (I eat these every day during the week for my “first” breakfast! They are on clearance at Target right now at $8.48 for 12—an awesome deal!)
- 1/2 cup Yogi Granola Crisps Mountain Blueberry Flax (go here for a $1 off 2 coupon)
- 1/2 cup grapes + 1 stick light mozzarella string cheese (grapes are on sale for $.99/lb. at Meijer right now; also, there is a $.55 off 1 Frigo Cheese Heads String Cheese in your August 21 SmartSource coupon insert)
- 1 cup low-fat kefir + 1 peach (print out a coupon for organic low-fat kefir here)
- 1 packet plain instant oatmeal (made with water) + 1/2 cup blueberries (print out a $.55 off 1 Better Oats product here)
- 3/4 cup Barbara’s Puffins Peanut Butter & Chocolate cereal + 1/2 cup nonfat milk (go here to print out a coupon for Barbara’s cereal AND here to print out a coupon for $1 off 2 1/2 gallons of Horizon organic milk)
- 1/2 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt + 2 tbsp. canned pumpkin + a pinch of pumpkin pie spice (go here for a $.50 off (1) 4-pack of Stonyfield probiotic yogurt)
- one 1.25 ounce package Beanitos Black Bean Chips + one 3.5 ounce cup mild salsa (go here for a $1 off 2 jars of Newman’s Own salsa)
- 2 carrots (cut into sticks) + 1 tbsp. natural peanut butter (organic baby carrots on sale 10 for $10 at Meijer right now AND all natural Market Pantry peanut butter on clearance for $1.94 a jar at Target!)
- 7 Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters (go here to print out your coupon for $.75 off 2)
- 1 Skinny Cow bar (on sale for $4 a box right now at Jewel, and when you purchase $12 worth of product, get a coupon for $4 off your next store visit!)
- 1/2 package Annie Chun’s Sprouted Brown Rice Sushi Wraps + 1/4 cup slivered vegetables (go here for an Annie Chun’s product coupon)
- 1/2 cup cooked brown rice + 1/4 cup vanilla soy milk + 2 tbsp. raisins (warmed together in the microwave) (go here for a soy milk coupon)
This is NOT the entire list, so be sure to check out the link to Real Simple’s healthy snacks, too! These are just the snacks I could find coupons for!
Organic Valley is a company that is dedicated to providing healthy, organic food to their customers. Organic Valley products can be found in most Dominick’s, Woodman’s and Butera grocery stores. You can go their website and print out coupons for their products and you can also subscribe to their newsletters while you are there. You will periodically receive coupon offers AND you have the option of having them send you a FREE Farm Friends Kids’ Activity kit, too! The kit contains a magazine, activity booklety, a Go Organic! bumper sticker, and a booklet of Organic Valley coupons! Visit their site to start saving!
If you are asking yourself why you should go organic, take a look at the chart below to compare what is allowed when producing organic foods with what is allowed when producing what are called “natural foods”. If this kind of stuff is permitted when producing “natural” foods, can you imagine what foods with artificial ingredients are made of? Hmmmm….
Chart courtesy of OrganicValley.com
Go to Coupons.com to print out some new high value Kashi coupons! They have three as of right now…one for $1 off any box of Kashi snack crackers, one for $1.50 off any 3 Kashi GoLean bars and one for $1 off 2 boxes of Kashi TLC bars! I love it when my favorite healthy foods get coupons! I will combine these with the good prices that Target has to make for a megacool, cash-saving, healthy buy! Yippeee!!